The Rise, and RISE, of Europe
The federating power of the European Union (EU) entered the year 2001 overtaking and replacing the U.S. as having the world’s number-one economy. It enters 2002 undertaking an unprecedented initiative: the world’s biggest ever cash changeover—the launch of the euro, replacing the sovereign, national currencies of 12 of its member nations.
What does the future hold for this emerging Euro-superpower?
Speedy New Europe
Of all nations or groups of nations (apart from the United States, which was on the receiving end), it is the European Union which responded most dramatically to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington d.c. that fateful morning of September 11, 2001. “For a crisis that came out of nowhere, the European Union has been responding with unprecedented speed” (Europe, Nov. 2001; emphasis mine throughout). September 11 seemed to kick the gnomes of Brussels into high gear. “By comparison to its divided and hesitant reactions during the Gulf War, the EU is moving with unprecedented speed on several tracks at once” (ibid.).
It took only 72 hours for the EU to crank $40 billion in instant liquidity, via the European Central Bank in association with the Bank of England, into the U.S. financial system to help keep it afloat. When Germany wanted to take the diplomatic lead in Pakistan—a country that assumed vital diplomatic importance as the U.S. and its coalition partners initiated war in Afghanistan—the Eurocrats sliced through their usual mass of red tape to assemble a special financial package to lubricate the EU’s relationship with the Pakistani administration.
Within one month, the EU heads of government agreed on a joint plan for judicial and police cooperation between their 15 member nations and the U.S. Within the same period, Brussels agreed on stepped-up aid for “moderate” Islamic nations and moved to commence trade talks with the greatest national sponsor of terrorism, Iran.
Such speedy action from this club of 15 vastly different nationalities is unprecedented.
What does this mean? Where is all this sudden European economic, financial, legal and diplomatic shuffling leading?
The King of the North
Perhaps no book in the Bible compares to Revelation in its colorful and dramatic description of the events which take place in the final hour of man’s civilization as its demise ushers in the glorious age of peace under Jesus Christ’s rule.
In the 13th verse of Revelation 8, we read of three great woes yet to come upon the inhabitants of the Earth. These three woes are synonymous with the final three of seven cataclysmic events which are heralded, as depicted in verses 6-12, by seven trumpet-blowing angels.
Students of Bible prophecy have long understood that the first of these three final woes is explained in Revelation 9:1-11. Here we see a powerfully destructive force at work. The Apostle John was inspired to use colorfully descriptive analogies to describe some very modern military technology, devastating in its effect on whole populations.
Here is how Herbert W. Armstrong explained these verses: “The power that causes the destruction, this time to men, comes out of the symbolic ‘bottomless pit.’ This is interpreted in Revelation 17:8-14. There we learn that a rebirth of the ancient Roman Empire is the power which emerges out of ‘the bottomless pit’ or abyss—a condition of underground existence not visible to the world. Verse 7 shows this future power will be a war-making, revived fascist power. It is described in prophecy as a power to the north of the Holy Land, because the prophecies always speak from the focal point of the Holy Land—to the north, and west” (The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last).
Mr. Armstrong possessed the vision to see the reality of that which is shaping up in Europe today—and he saw it well over 50 years ago. With masterful insight, he wrote, “The day that war ended, the Nazi organization went underground! Their plans for coming back have been proceeding, under cover, since 1945” (1975 in Prophecy).
This statement meshes, in a sense, with Revelation 9:2 and 11:7, which speak of a beastly power rising up out of a “bottomless pit.” This language is strongly suggestive of the words used by Herbert Armstrong indicating that the most beastly power the modern world has known, that of Hitler’s Nazi organization, at the end of the war went underground, undercover! Much has been written over the years, in a plethora of well-researched books, documenting this fact, many of which we have quoted in this magazine. As national socialist activists and thinkers descended underground, their ideology went with them. Then, gradually, almost imperceptibly, that thinking came creeping out—after the dust of hot war had settled and a new Cold War arisen—to weave its insidious web throughout the institutions erected by those Europhiles, supported by the U.S. in particular, who put their weight behind a new push to unify Europe.
This idea of a unified Europe is as old as the ancient Roman Empire. Your Bible prophesies this empire would be resurrected seven times from the time of Justinian’s imperial restoration commencing a.d. 554.
At the death of Herbert Armstrong in 1986, six of those resurrections had come and gone. The final, seventh remaining leader of the last resurrection of that empire, and the beastly imperial power he is to lead, was yet to come. When he comes on the world stage, he “must continue a short space” (Rev. 17:10). This refers to the ten kings or kingdoms, typified by the feet of iron and clay of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in Daniel 2:41. (Write for Daniel—Unsealed at Last! for a more complete understanding of the image described in Daniel 2.) These kingdoms are equally divided between the eastern and western “legs” of the resurrecting Roman Empire. Remember, the old empire had two capitals—Rome in the West, Constantinople in the East.
This is what is now emerging rapidly in Europe: the promised final resurrection of the old Roman Empire, led by a great false religion, typed as a scarlet whore in Revelation 17:1-6. Your newspapers, newsmagazines, Internet news sites and radio and TV newscasts do not use this colorful, analogous biblical language to describe this great prophesied event. Nevertheless, for those who possess a “mind which hath wisdom” (Rev. 17:9)—the revelatory Spirit of God—daily the international news reports speak of this empire’s rapid rise to global dominance and an ugly return to ways of the past. Here are a few of those insights.
“In Germany, where last year a Mozambican man was casually kicked to death by three skinheads, the interior ministry admits that racist crime—from murder to the chanting of Nazi slogans—rose last year by 45 percent to around 14,000 incidents” (op. cit., Europe).
A 45 percent increase in racist crime! That’s a whopping leap over the previous year. Imagine how the U.S. or Britain would react to an almost 50 percent increase in racially related crimes in their countries. It would amount to a political disaster for the incumbent government. Yet in Germany, the leading nation in the EU, it rates little mention! This is deeply worrying and foreshadows worse to come as demographic factors weigh heavily on Germany’s inability to replace its own work force by natural increase in its population.
The seething neo-Nazism sweeping Europe is reminiscent of the mood, particularly in Germany and Italy, prior to World War ii, a war which brought the rise of the sixth era of the Holy Roman Empire. It bespeaks an innate cruelty below the surface.
Sharp population decline is cutting a swath across Europe from Italy to Russia. Demographic reports indicate that the natural populations of Germany, Italy and Spain will shrink a quarter by the year 2050. In Russia, a major EU trading partner, the situation is far worse, with statisticians predicting that more than half of the 16-year-old boys alive in that country today will not reach the age of 60.
Some estimates indicate that the EU will need up to 75 million immigrants over the next half century. EU member countries generally reflect a xenophobic attitude when it comes to addressing this problem. With national governments not keen to import foreign labor to see wages repatriated to non-EU countries, the population gap could cause the EU economy to contract severely.
The prophecies of the solution to this challenge are foreboding—among the merchandise in which the beast power is to trade are “slaves, and souls of men” (Rev. 18:13). This solution was tried during the previous war in Europe. It became a final solution to many!
The Europeans are on a roll. One of the initiatives of the Eurocrats has been the creation of a federal system of law and order to be imposed on the Union.
The imposition of such a system is deeply worrying to concerned Euroskeptics in Britain. European law is based on the old Roman tenet “guilty till proven innocent,” the very opposite of British law, founded anciently upon the principle of “innocent till proven guilty.” The two systems are poles apart. Yet, seizing the bit between the teeth, EU ministers in Brussels are using the pretext of protecting Europe against terrorism to create a virtual pan-European system of law and order.
Germany is of real concern in this context: “Germany is discarding half a century of self-restraint in matters of internal security since the defeat of Hitler and his Gestapo, to enact laws giving police extra powers to eavesdrop, to monitor private bank accounts and to deport ‘undesirables’” (bbc News, Dec. 3, 2001).
Fears are rising that the EU is hurriedly laying foundations which could turn Europe into a police state!
“It is also noteworthy that the Belgians are saying more or less openly that they are exploiting the events of September 11 to achieve the result they desire, that of creating a single European judicial and criminal system” (European Foundation Intelligence Digest, Dec. 12, 2001). The Roman Empire’s internal cohesion was aided by the imposition of such a system.
Since the Maastricht Treaty was signed by EU members in 1992, the EU has been bent on a course of establishing a European army. Further treaties concluded by members of the EU in Amsterdam in 1997 and Nice in 2000 raised the prospect of the development of a European “rapid reaction force.” In language which took due care not to raise alarm or revive memories of the military horrors of 55 years ago, the Eurocrats couched the proposal for this military force in terms that bespoke a force for crisis management and peacekeeping—a sort of support to the UN’s traditional role.
But, once again, using the events of September 11 to justify their unseemly rush, the Eurocrats, who agreed to a target of 2003 as the year to launch this combined military force, brought forward this initiative by more than a year and announced they were kickstarting it last month on December 14!
Not only this, but even before launching this fledgling force—no longer seeing the need to allay the fears of those who still have a memory of the history of Europe’s two greatest wars—“The EU is studying the possibility of extending the mandate of the future EU reaction force beyond crisis management and peacekeeping and eventually include common defense …” (www.euobserver.com, Nov. 30, 2001).
German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, brashly disregarding concerns over German history of the past two centuries, “told the press Germany supported an extension of the present mandate of the future EU force to allow it to cover the whole range of operations relevant to the security of the Union” (ibid.).
Former British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Alun Chalfont bluntly declared, “What is now being proposed is nothing less than a European army—like the common currency, a potential building block in the construction of a Eurostate. … [It reflects] the determination of some European leaders to turn an economic union into a single European state” (Salisbury Review, Autumn 2001).
The rotten heart of the lying core of this serpentine union of European nation states is revealed in Lord Chalfont’s following comment: “[T]he meeting in Helsinki in December 1999 … outlined the Common European Policy on Security and Defense. … The conclusions of the conference insisted that this ‘does not imply the creation of a European army’—a mantra repeated endlessly in the debate about this matter. Of course, it is a European army and in the minds of many people that is what it is intended to be. To quote the words of Romano Prodi, the President of the EU Commission, ‘When I was talking about the European army, I was not joking’” (ibid.).
Ancient Rome was a colonizing power. A powerful military force was fundamental to the success of its colonizing prowess. This was the case from the time of their overseas excursions as a republic in 282-146 b.c. to the rise to imperial greatness and the birth of the Byzantine Empire in the 4th century.
All subsequent resurrections of this ancient empire, from Justinian to the alliance between Mussolini and Hitler, were aggressive in their efforts for increased hegemony. This was particularly the case under the Germanic emperors, who constantly strove for Lebensraum—living space.
We should not be surprised, then, to see the consequence of Germany’s first foreign-policy enactment upon its reunification in 1990. As our editor in chief points out in his article on page 2, it was Germany’s unilateral action in recognizing Croatia and Slovenia as nation-states separate from the Yugoslav federation that caused the Balkan wars of the 1990s, culminating in the virtual economic takeover of that volatile peninsula by the EU. The Balkans are now held to ransom by the German-dominated EU via a German-initiated reconstruction pact funded by EU largess and secured by mostly EU military personnel. This is designed to ultimately give the Union political control over this vital crossroads of the European continent. With the Balkan Peninsula fairly well secured, the EU is feeling more aggressive in its intent to extend its colonization to other areas.
Bible prophecy gives us a lead in terms of which direction that hegemony will head.
In the prophecy of Daniel, an allegorical “little horn” is said to have “waxed exceeding great,” in a time setting revealed as “the last end” (see Dan. 8:9, 19). Our Daniel booklet explains how this prophecy has dual application in terms of prophetic world events and also events to occur within God’s true Church. In its physical application, note that this king of the north moves to extend his territory “toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land [Israel].”
Where is the European Union seeking to extend its membership today? Toward the south (Mediterranean and northern Africa) toward the east (ex-Soviet satellite countries) and, increasingly, in terms of diplomatic involvement in particular, toward the Holy Land!
Within that which British economist Bernard Connolly describes as “the rotten heart of Europe,” there is a desperate evil. It will consummate in the elevation of one leading individual who is described in Daniel’s great prophecy as a common flatterer: “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Dan. 11:21).
This word flatteries comes from a Hebrew term meaning smooth, treacherous, slippery. The king of the north will be an especially slippery customer! Watching the backslapping and rubbing of hands of a couple of the EU’s top leaders certainly reminds one of the slippery nature of EU politics and diplomacy.
This treacherous diplomacy seems particularly suited to the changeable nature of the German character. Stolid, supremely well organized, brilliant in engineering, favored in the appreciation and perpetuation of high culture, industrious, the Germans have one great character flaw—their mutability.
That masterful commentator on the nature of the Europeans, Luigi Barzini, an anti-fascist journalist, had a common-sense view of where the EU was leading even before unification was a reality: “The future of Europe appears largely to depend today once again, for good or evil, whether we like it or not, as it did for many centuries, on the future of Germany” (The Europeans).
Barzini had a thorough grasp of the unstable nature of the German character, likening it to the mythical Proteus: “It is therefore once again essential for everybody … to keep an eye across the Rhine and the Alps and the Elbe in order to figure out, as our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, the ancient Romans, and remote ancestors had to do, who the Germans are, who they think they are, what they are doing, and where they will go next, wittingly or unwittingly. This, of course, was always impossible to fathom. How can one tell? Germany is a trompe l’oeil protean country. As everybody knows, only when one tied down Proteus, the prophetic old man of the sea, could one make him reveal the shape of things to come. But he couldn’t be pinned down easily; he continued to change. He could be a roaring lion, a harmless sheep, a slippery serpent, a charging bull …” (ibid.).
Thus it is that this protean German character has, under the leadership of the chameleon-like Chancellor Schröder, come out of the closet to bury the past and assert itself on the world stage as a diplomatic and political force to be reckoned with.
In the words of one newspaper, Mr. Schröder said the September 11 attack on the U.S. “had prompted a turning point in Berlin’s foreign policy, with its role as a ‘secondary player’ in international affairs now over. … ‘We Germans, more than anyone, now have a duty fully to meet our responsibility,’ said the chancellor, referring to the former West Germany’s reliance on the U.S. and European partners for its security. Mr. Schröder made clear that the new phase in foreign policy would be characterized by a readiness to accept military commitments on a scale not comparable with the past. … ‘This is a new phase in German foreign policy,’ said Karsten Voigt, coordinator for German American relations in the foreign ministry. ‘Germany is showing itself increasingly prepared to bring in the military element as a component of foreign policy’” (Financial Times, Oct. 12, 2001).
Those with a deep appreciation of history and the changeable nature of the German character would do well to think on three occasions over the past 130 years when German chancellors and ministers of government made similar assertions—1870, 1914 and 1939! The words of Friedrich Nietzsche, the darling of Western socialists, powerfully echo Schröder’s claim of the uniqueness of the German duty to the world: “One must seek to make amends for one’s superiority. To be ashamed of one’s power. To use it in the most salutary way. … Awe-inspiring power. The only way to use the present kind of German power correctly is to comprehend the tremendous obligation which lies in it” (The Europeans, p. 93).
Yet it is not only the Germans who need watching in Europe. “Fifty-six years after he was shot and strung upside-down in Milan’s Piazzale Loreto, Benito Mussolini is enjoying a revival as Italy’s shame about the dictator yields to fascination. … ‘This present rehabilitation of the man who allied himself politically and militarily with the Nazis, who persecuted Italian Jews without prompting from Hitler, who dragged Italy into a disastrous war, is not surprising.’ It is a reflection of serious changes in Italian society and politics,’ wrote James Walston, a historian at the American University in Rome …” (Guardian, Sept. 10, 2001).
Spain too is feeling its Euro-oats: “The Spanish foreign minister, Josef Pique, has threatened Britain with a ‘very negative’ deterioration of relations if Spain does not get what she wants over Gibraltar. What Spain wants is that Gibraltar becomes Spanish” (www.panorama.gi, Sept. 19, 2001).
The Shape of Things to Come
As historian Walston has seen, serious changes are afoot in Europe. The pendulum has swung, and Europe is uniting—or rather being united—by a powerful Franco-German politicizing and bureaucratizing influence in Brussels. By force of Teutonic diplomacy on the world scene it is moving into the role of aggressive “peacemaker.”
The current resurgence of Europe is deeply rooted in history and clearly delineated in prophecy. Here’s what to watch for over the coming months and the years just ahead, based on the “more sure word of prophecy” (ii Pet. 1:19).
Watch for a continuing rise in neo-Nazi disturbances associated with Europeans of fascist leanings coming out of the closet, as Europe continues its political swing to the right.
Watch for the betrayal of Gibraltar by the British government in a handover of that crucial sea gate from British to Spanish sovereignty.
Watch for the stitching up of the Balkans under EU administration and military security tied to the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Watch for continuing, more overt diplomacy by German-led EU missions to Pakistan, Russia and Iran as the EU asserts its role to influence the outcome of the war in Afghanistan. At risk is access to Middle Eastern oil, crucial for the European economy.
Watch for the EU to play off Russia and the U.S. to its advantage—particularly in relation to Caspian oil.
Watch for a strengthening of more open alliance between the Vatican and the EU, and for the EU to play a stronger mediating role, via trade and aid, in bringing Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy closer together, as this Union enlarges eastward.
Watch for the U.S. to be replaced by the EU as chief negotiator of peace in the Middle East.
Watch for the rise of the old alliance between Germany and Japan to take on greater significance as Japan looks increasingly away from the U.S. and toward the EU as its major trading partner—if only temporarily.
Watch for the drafting of a European Union constitution, based on a common currency, common police, judicial and security system, and a common defense force, which will revive the old imperial system of the ancient Roman Empire in this 21st century.
Watch for economic and social destabilization in Europe to rise in the wake of the launch of the euro.
Watch for the coming destabilization of society in Europe to spawn the political, economic, social and religious climate ripe for the rise of a treacherous demagogue, who gains office by flatteries, destined to wreak great havoc on the world scene.
Broken in Pieces
As the image in Daniel 2 of Nebuchadnezzar’s great vision of world-ruling empires, from Babylon to Rome, portrays, the final resurrection of that ancient Roman Empire is sown with division. It has feet of iron mixed with clay—not destined to hold together for long.
In fact, division will be a continuing feature of this beast power, even as it has been over the years as its fractious Eurocracy has striven to resurrect this ancient Babylonish system based on treaty upon treaty—from the original European Coal and Steel Community agreement to its most recent summit in Laeken, Belgium, this past December. At this summit the final two key elements of the old Romish, fascist, Nazi dream—a European presidency and a constitution binding imperial Europe together in a huge federation of global impact—were finally tabled.
The wraps are off! It’s there for all to see. The masses who were tricked into believing a united Europe was to be but an innocuous union of trading partners may stand aghast at the religio-politico-military beast that is emerging from the cleverly deceitful rhetoric of decades of Eurocrats. These leaders simply took that ancient dream that went underground with the Nazis 56 years ago and breathed life back into it to the point that its hot breath will one day, soon, threaten to engulf the globe.
Yet there is hope in all this! For prophecy reveals that the resurrection of this great beast power, a union of ten kings or kingdoms under one demagogue, dominated by a single great false religion (Rev. 17-18) is but a sure sign of God’s imminent intervention to cut short the pain of man’s continuing inhumanity to man.
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Dan. 2:44).
That is what to ultimately watch and pray for—“thy kingdom come!” The Kingdom of God—a global empire founded upon perfect justice based upon immutable law administered by a perfect King of kings (Rev. 17:14)—will be established on Earth. Of this we can be certain. “The dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Dan. 2:45).